October 2004 Action Alert - Proposition 72

ACTION ALERT

Proposition 72- SB2 (The Health Insurance Act of 2003)

Proposition 72, also known as SB2 (The Health Insurance Act of 2003), will protect and expand employer-based health coverage for working Californians. Prop 72 will require medium to large size employers to provide medical health insurance benefits to their employees or contribute to a statewide purchasing pool to provide health coverage to working Californians and their families. Prop 72 will extend health insurance benefits to 20% of the uninsured population, an estimated 1.1 million working Californians.

Prop 72 sets standards in health care, like the minimum wage sets standards in pay. Prop 72:

  • Requires large and mid-sized employers, not taxpayers, to pay for health care for workers;
  • Employer-paid private coverage must include prescription drugs, major medical and preventive care;
  • Companies must pay at least 80% of premiums and can pay up to 100%;
  • Controls costs by capping premiums employees pay at 20%;
  • Exempts small businesses

Specifically, here is the timeline for what Prop 72 will require:

  • By January 2006, companies of 200 or more employees will be required to provide health insurance coverage to workers and their families.
  • By January 2007, companies of 50 or more employees will be required to comply.

California taxpayers pay $4.6 billion annually to cover emergency room (ER) and other health bills for the uninsured. By extending health insurance to more than one million Californians, Prop 72 will save tax dollars and relieve the burden on emergency rooms.

  • Small businesses are exempt (including 93% of all restaurants and retailers).
  • Levels the playing field by taking away the unfair competitive advantage some large corporations have because they don't' provide insurance to their employees.

Opponents of Prop 72 have offered many opinions about the dangers in supporting the proposition. See www.stopthehealthtax.org for the opponents' positions. For example:

Opponents: "Forcing people with private coverage into a government-run healthcare system is not the reform Californians want."

Proponents: "Proposition 72 is not a government-run healthcare system. It is private insurance, paid for by employers for employees. Prop 72 provides a state purchasing pool for employers who choose not to purchase health insurance directly. Over one million uninsured Californians will stop depending on taxpayer-paid care for the uninsured and start getting private insurance paid for by employers."

If you support expanding health care coverage to more Californians, you can take action in several ways:

  • Visit www.SaveYourHealthcare.com to learn more about Prop 72;
  • Spread the word to your friends, family, colleagues and neighbors about Prop 72; and
  • Encourage your EVERYONE you know to vote on November 2nd!

STAND UP, SPEAK UP and ACT UP!